Students Help Clean Up

Our students got together yesterday near Benjica’s home and helped clean up the community.  Part of a requirement of receiving a scholarship from Haiti Scholarships is that students will give back to their communities.  And what better time than right now!

14 students worked hard for about 4 hours.  From Berlyne: “Also, I know that you don’t burn trash in the States. But here we do. People were very happy to see us doing that for them, because it is been so long since they had been waiting for the mayor’s office worker to clean up and no one came. They gave us two rakes and a shovel from the Pastor and we gave them back to them after.”

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Check our Facebook album for more photos.

Hurricane Matthew: Rebuilding

Thanks to a quick response from our donors, we were able to send money to our students to help purchase some items for them to start getting back on their feet.  Berlyne asked every student what their top 3 priorities were, and we tried to check off as many things off that list as we could.  Many students told us they needed a new bed, but due to the high cost of beds that was one item we were unable to purchase for anyone.  What we did get them: metal sheets to replace their roofs, wood, cement, clothes, and school supplies.

Click here to see more photos on our Facebook page.

Click here to donate towards our 2017-2018 scholarship fund to ensure these students can keep going to school next year!

Hurricane Matthew Response

At times like these, we are so thankful to have Berlyne working with us.  We have been able to keep in constant contact and she’s been keeping in touch with our students in return.

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Thanks to Berlyne and your donations, we were able to send money right away for Berlyne to purchase some much-needed items for our students and their families: rice, oil, water, water purification tablets, and some other essential home items.  Our students were so happy!

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We also sent money for our students in Les Cayes.  Unfortunately, Les Cayes was hit much harder than Leogane, so Jim has been working tirelessly through Bona Responds and Positive Ripples to provide more help for reconstruction.

Any donations received during the month of October will be set aside and distributed to our students to help them rebuild their home or purchase vital home items (beds, etc.).  Berlyne is contacting all of our students this week to see what their “top 3” requests are, and once we have that list and estimated costs, we will begin distributing the money accordingly.

Do you know that just a $10 donation can help buy a new roof for a student’s home?  Donate today.

Mother’s Day: the gift that gives!

Yeye and her mom <3

This Mother’s Day, give a gift that gives back and gives twice: just click on our “donate” button on the right and a mom in Haiti receives the gift of education for her son/daughter, and YOUR mom gets a handmade card from Haiti-it’s a win-win!

Johny Joseph with his beautiful mother

Our students in Haiti worked really hard to make some great mother’s day cards for YOUR mom–donate any amount TODAY and get your hand made card to give to your mom on Mother’s Day.


Alex Fleurome and his mom

Follow us on Instagram (haitischolarships) or on Facebook to see more pictures of our students with their beautiful mother’s!

#haitimoms #giveback#giftsthatgive

Decorate your tree and support Haiti Scholarships at the same time!

Check out this fundraiser that our board member, Alexandra, is doing during the month of November. She is selling hand crafted ornaments that are made in Haiti and help support Haitians. Half of the proceeds go back to the organization (and supporting their wonderful day care center for their employee’s children), and the other half goes to Haiti Scholarships to help provide scholarships for our students. Click the link above to find out how to place your order and support two great causes at the same time!

Carnaval in Haiti

Contributed by one of our scholarship applicants, Onel Dossou.

A little bit stories about carnaval in Haiti.
Carnaval in Haiti is a time to meet together, and to sing,to dance,to enjoy.
It is a period for society accept who ever the type of people can come to celebrate together, even if you are politician or christian, you understand the period of carnaval.  The period of carnaval is national party and we can meet people from all over the world!
Carnaval is celebrated for three days.  The name of the days celebrated are: dimanch gra, lindi gra, madi gra. Haitian society accept almost the type of the behavior, even if you are voodoo or christian you can make sacrifice or to show  and to make pleasure in staff.
Some people use the date like a vacation: for exemple to see their families or to visit some friends.
Every year they have a term for the carnaval, like this year the term of the carnaval is “ayiti ap dekole!” The term of the carnaval has a big significance for the Haitian politician,the way the group sing and the way they sing, the way they are, so it will be very important for politician.
It is a short time to enjoy and to dance!
The time of the carnaval is very important for Haitian economics also: a lot of sellers in the area make money and lot of floats!

Photos courtesy of Anika Anand.

Christmas in Haiti

By Lamarre Presuma

Christmas is a feast that celebrates all over the world every year. Some country celebrate it the same way, some others celebrate it in a different way.
In Haiti, Christmas is very good because everybody does a preparation for it. In Creole they call it “TONTON NWEL” meaning “Uncle Christmas”.
Some Haitians  celebrate it as Jesus birthday. Every big stores and companies always give bonus for that feast and they always organize a  drawing,  if the people who participate in that drawing win they probably receive things such as: car, motorcycle, television, telephone etc.
Some of singers prepare songs for the Christmas period and in December 24th there is a competition for them to see who prepares nice song and who sings best. The one who sings and prepares best for Christmas period will receive a great gift.
During that period , each member of   any  families  has  a feeling to enjoy and to meet together to celebrate the Christmas period even if they are far or outside the country they want to come and see each other.
The December 24th is very special, so families, boyfriends, girlfriend meet together to drink, to dance, to enjoy and to give nice jokes.
Finally, Christmas is a hot period in Haiti; it’s the greatest feast in Haiti. Everybody appreciates it, Admires it, the Creole name that they give to December 24th is “REVEYON” Meaning Christmas Eve, in other words stay all night to enjoy the Christ.
A huge thank you to Lamarre for contributing this piece for our blog.  Lamarre is one of our applicants for next semester.  If you want to help him, and others like him, please click on the donate button on the right!

Career Counseling in Developing Countries

When I was reviewing our fall applications, I realized that quite a majority of our female applicants wanted to be nurses.  Of the 9 new female applicants, 7 of them expressed a desire to follow careers in the medical field (78%).  Of these, 6 of them said they wanted to be nurses (86%) and one of them said they wanted to be a doctor (14%).  I know it’s not a huge pool of applicants I’m working with, but I still thought it was interesting, and it made me ask myself: “Why?  Are there no alternative careers for them, or do they all really want to be nurses?”  I asked a friend of mine who’s been working in Haiti for a while, and she stated that it’s just the career that girls follow in Haiti: “they have a limited view of what they can do…sad thing is some of them really want to be doctors, but they don’t think women can be doctors.”

This reminded me of going to school in Guatemala.  In third and fourth grade, my dream was to become a bilingual secretary.  It was something I aspired to.  The only alternative I knew of was to be a teacher, which didn’t sound too bad either…but I already spoke English, so it made the “bilingual” thing pretty easy.  It wasn’t until I got older and returned to study in the United States that my options opened up.  This was due to the availability of career centers in my junior high and high school, career guidance specialists who met with me to discuss my plans for college, career aptitude tests, career days, etc.  I don’t know that any of these really made me focus on a specific career, but it showed me options.

For students in less developed countries, these “amenities” aren’t options for them.  In researching the availability of career counseling and guidance for developing countries I came across a study done by the World Bank, titled Public Policies for Career Development.

Some of the highlights of the study:

Career guidance is increasingly viewed as an integral part of a human resource development strategy designed to harness technological and economic change and enable the country to compete effectively in global markets.

Career guidance policies and services support economic efficiency by making the labor market operate more effectively.

Career guidance can perform a valuable role in raising the aspirations of the disadvantaged and individuals in poverty by making them aware of opportunities, and supporting them in securing entry to such opportunities.

Issues faced by developing countries:

  • Limited public resources: developing countries need to prioritize their investments, and career guidance is not one of them
  • Poverty and unemployment: may mean people drawn to accept any job in order to provide a source of income, suppressing the concept of choice, and leading to career guidance being regarded as relevant only to those who are perceived to have choices–who might be quite a small minority.
  • Informal economy: many seek economic survival outside the formal wage economy (2/3 of Haitians have no formal employment —
  • Community capacity building: need to help individuals decide how they can best contribute to their community
  • Importance of family structures: family may exert stronger influence on individual’s choices, not least because it is more directly affected by the results of those choices
  • Emigration: option of emigrating or seeking employment abroad for better opportunities
  • Cultural factors: in certain cultures there may be some resistance to help seeking, which may be viewed as a sign of weakness, or there may be traditional occupations roles for groups and individuals that are difficult to change.

So what are the suggestions for developing countries?  “Strengthen structures for policy coordination and strategic leadership, explore the role of legislation, collect improved financial information and review the role of markets, assure quality, build an evidence base, examine the role of international support in enabling middle-income countries to benefit from experiences, materials and systems developed in other countries.”

You know, no big deal.

The reality is that even with these systems in place, even with students having a clear focus of what career path they want to follow, they still need to be able to find a job in that career path once they graduate.  It’s great that a student aspires to be lawyer, doctor, business man/woman, advocate, engineer, etc., but it does that student no good if he/she can’t obtain a job in that field.

This was expressed in an article discussing the career guidance and employment opportunities of students in Tanzania.  The article starts by addressing the difficulty students have in finding a job after they graduate.  It then goes on to discuss the lack of career guidance in Tanzania, which stems from a lack of resources and teachers who are unable to provide such guidance due to a lack of knowledge about available careers.

“Experts agree that career guidance, widely accepted as a powerful and effective method of helping to bridge the gap between education and the world of work, can also help decrease unemployment.”

The Executive Director of the Association of Tanzania Employers states: “most of our trainers have no idea what exactly they are supposed to be teaching.  We have potential in students, but there is no-one to unlock it.  The trainers don’t know what is relevant or not in today’s job market.”

I think this is one of the biggest challenges for any organization that is working with students: you see the potential so many of these individuals have, but you have to learn how to unlock that potential, and how to encourage them to pursue that potential, to make something of themselves in a society that maybe does not appreciate such potential, nor knows what to do with it.

If our applicants want to be nurses, I’m more than happy to help them pursue those dreams.  But I want them to have alternatives.  I don’t want them to pick a career path because it’s the only thing available to them.  I want them to pick a career path because it’s what they want to do, or because they believe it’s the best way to achieve the financial stability they desire.  I hope that in the near future Haiti Scholarships can help our students discover these options, and help each of our students achieve the full potential that each of them have locked up inside themselves.

Your thoughts?